France seal gold medal hat-trick in men’s team épée

France wrapped up their fencing campaign at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with a 45-31 win over longstanding rivals Italy in the men’s épée team event final at Carioca Arena 3.

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It meant a record ninth team title in men’s épée for France, and their third in a row following triumphs at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 (the event was rotated off the programme at London 2012).

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Captained by world No1 Gauthier Grumier, the men’s épée individual bronze medallist in Rio, the French did not drop a bout in the final. Leading from start to finish, they avenged their defeats to the Italians in the Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 gold medal matches in style.

After a barren Games in London Games, where French fencers left without medals for the first time since Rome 1960, team coach Hugues Obry was delighted to see his charges topping the podium once more: “We know that with our medal, no one can take that away from us. Same as in (London), no one can take that away from us.”

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Grumier, who sat out the gold-medal match, with Jean-Michel Lucenay taking his place, said: “My role was to be here for my team mates and to guide them because I wasn’t fencing in the final. So I was here to tell them, ‘Go ahead and take your chance’.”

Paying tribute to his family after collecting silver, Enrico Garrozzo, the brother of Rio 2016 individual foil champion Daniele, said: “For them it was years that they spent with us and we paid back with one day like this. This is the second (medal) for my family… so I'm happy because we paid back for all that they did for us.”

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Five-time Olympian Geza Imre led Hungary to a 39-37 win over world champions Ukraine in the bronze medal match, with the 41-year-old individual world champion adding a fourth medal to his Olympic tally. A silver medallist in the individual event at Rio 2016, Imre also won individual bronze at Atlanta 1996 and team silver at Athens 2004.